Party Time: Tips to Make That 50th Anniversary Party Extra Special

Party Time

"While sifting through old photos, letters and other mementos in anticipation of her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, Raleigh designer Lauren Van Hemert stumbled upon an idea that has become big business for her accessories company, Bella Bolsa..."

As reported in The News & Observer (above) and Walter Magazine, my very first custom photo bag was born out of planning my parents' 50th Anniversary. Planning my parents' party was truly a labor of love. Here are some of my party pics and DIY ideas for making your next party extra special.

Pack on the Pics
Over their 50 years together, my parents have taken hundreds, no make that thousands, of pictures. The first thing I did was dig out all of the photo albums and scrapbooks. Next, I scanned in the photos and saved them to my drive. Scanning the photos enabled me to touch up and preserve faded, damaged pictures, make copies of the pictures to use in my decorations, and share the digital files with my family after the party.

The Centerpieces

To make this centerpiece:
1. Mount photos onto black cardstock.
2. Cover three smooth foam discs (one 6", one 8", one 12") with decorative paper and stack the discs. Discs can be found at the craft store.
3. Use memo holder picks or place card picks to stick the photos into the foam. You can even make your own picks using paperclips or wire.

For another fabulous DIY project using photos, check out Chic DIY Balloon Chandelier.
The Place Settings
The place settings served double duty as a keepsake for each guest as well. On each plate, I placed a printed photo card (using a template I had printed at the drugstore) of my mom and dad. For the place card, I found pictures of either my mom or dad and each guest, put them in a small 3x5 acrylic frame (found at the craft store), and used small, round scrapbook stickers for the guest's name. 
Go for the Gold
If you search 50th Wedding Anniversary party ideas online, you will find gold everything. I used gold decorative paper to cover the foam discs used for the centerpieces and filled the room with gold and white balloons.
For a classy way to incorporate gold in your 50th Anniversary party decor, check out Paper Crush's Blog Post on DIY Polka Dot Letters. I love these Polka Dot Letters and think they would make a fabulous "5-0" centerpiece or mantelpiece.
Finishing Touches
50 Fun Facts Garland
I compiled a list of 50 fun facts relating to my parents... 3 children,  9 dogs, '35 (the year my dad was born)... you get the idea. I printed out each fun fact on a separate sheet of paper and mounted each sheet on cardstock. I strung them from a rope using clothespins to make my own garland. I got the idea from the MartaWrites Blog (pictured below), which is full of 50th Anniversary party picture inspiration.
The Cake
My parents love their dog. In fact, I could make an argument that they treat the dog better than they ever treated us. So, I wanted to forego the typical 50th anniversary cake (think typical supermarket sheet cake) and have something really special and personal made. Check out the cake Susan, The Original Cake Lady, designed for the occasion.
The Gift
My sister, brother, and I pitched in for a big gift (a Marriott Hotel gift card) for the two of them. I, however, wanted to give my mom a more personal gift and created my first custom photo clutch (below). 
For more amazing party planning tips and inspiration, check out Lauren Conrad's Lifestyle Blog.

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